Saturday, June 29, 2019

Govt Draws 20-point plan after Farmers suicides rise

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Govt Draws 20-point plan after Farmers suicides rise
Maharashtra tops the ladder

Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 28

The government admitted in the Lok Sabha today that Maharashtra tops the list of states in the country where maximum number of farmers' suicides have taken place followed by Telangana and Karnataka. Maharashtra witnessed 3030 suicides out of 8007 suicides in the country during 2015 which is higher than 2014 when 2568 suicides took place. In fact, during 2015 the suicides as a whole rose in the country compared to 2014.
The government also informed the Rajya Sabha that data for the subsequent years of 2016, 2017 & 2018 is not available so far. However, there were no farmers' suicides in as many as 16 states out of 36 including in Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Goa.

The Agriculture & Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, however, claimed that these would come down as an action plan chalked out by the states is backed by 20-point aggressive support by the Centre. He said that agriculture is a a State subject and State Governments undertake development of perspective plans and ensure effective implementation of the programmes/ schemes.
The Government had constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee in 2016 to recommend a strategy for Doubling of Farmers’ Income (DFI) by the year 2022 following which an Empowered committee has been constituted on January 23 this year for monitoring the implementation of the recommendations.
The government initiated market reforms including e-NAM, Soil Health Cards, drip irrigation, PM Fasal BIMA, PM-Kisan, higher MSP and other steps to boost income and bring down input costs.

When Om Birla's own question remained Unanswered

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

When Om Birla's own question remained Unanswered

Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 27

A strange situation arose in the Lok Sabha when the Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar saw a parliamentary question from none other than the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Om Birla on his table. The Parliament session of the 17thLok Sabha began on June 17 and regular question & answer hour was to begin on June 21. Om Birla, as BJP MP from Rajasthan sent his first parliamentary question to the Ministry on June 17 itself after taking oath as member. His question was
(a) whether India fs domestic climate policy is outdated and relies on a disjointed institutional architecture, without having clarity on foundational values;
(b) if so, the details thereof and the steps taken by the Government to overcome this;
(c) whether India strongly needs a comprehensive policy document with a new vision to guide it forward in responding to the rapidly closing window against climate change;
(d) if so, the details thereof; and
(e) whether the Government intend to re-examine the existing policy framework through the lens of climate change, and revise the framework, as necessary and if so, the details thereof?. But by the time the reply was to be given, Om Birla had become Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Javadekar was puzzled as to what he should do. He called Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi whether he should put his reply in writing on the floor of the parliament or simply send it to the Hon Speaker. But Parliamentary practice & procedure required that if the Question of the Member is listed, the answer has to be tabled too. Finally, it was decided that answer need not be tabled though Unstarred Question was listed.
Interestingly, Om Birla has been an active member of the Lok Sabha in his first term when he participated in 163 debates including Budget, Motion of thanks on the President's Address & special mentions. He asked as many as 631 unstarred questions during 2014-19 and his attendance very high.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

special report : Who will Country's Top Spy ? Modi to decide

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

special report

Who will Country's Top Spy ? Modi to decide
Aruna Sundaram in race to be new Cabinet Secretary

Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 25

All eyes are set on the two crucial posts to be filled by the Modi government- Cabinet Secretary and Director, Intelligence Bureau. Both occupants of these vital posts were given extensions in 2018 itself since General Elections were due. Since these are fixed terms posts, extensions were given to P K Sinha (Cabinet Secretary) and Rajiv Jain ( IB Director) adhering to conventions so that a new government is free to bring officers of its choice. Therefore, it was expected that once re-elected, Modi will induct new officers to these two key posts after assuming charge on May 30.
But in a surprise development, incumbent P K Sinha was given three months extension days before the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba was set to be promoted. In order to extend the tenure of Sinha by three months, the Modi government even amended 40 year rule as well. Now uncertainty has crept in as Rajiv Gauba, an IAS officer of the 1982 batch of Jharkhand cadre, will retire on August 30 while Sinha's extended tenure will end on September 12.
No one is sure in the bureaucracy if Gauba will be promoted though he is rated very high. Insiders in the government say that this may open sea of opportunities for another brilliant officer Aruna Sundararajan who is Telecom Secretary and Chairman of the Telecom Commission. A 1982 batch IAS officer from Kerala Cadre, Ms Sundararajan, is one of the most senior civil servants of the IAS.

Similarly, uncertainty continues in the country's premier intelligence agency, the IB where its director Rajiv Jain was given three months' extension. He was lready on six months' extension and rewarded with another three months jeopardising the prospects of senior-most number two Arvind Kumar, an IPS officer of 1984 batch of Assam-Meghalaya cadre. While other senior officers have already retired in IB as Rajiv Jain was given two consecutive extensions.
If cources are to be believed, the name of Rakesh Asthana, an IPS officer of DG rank, is being discussed for the top post. He is considered close to Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Since IB directly reports to Amit Shah after the change of guards at the North Block, sources say that the new Home Minister is pushing for his favourite officer.


Monday, June 24, 2019

Modi's crack down on Corrupt bureaucracy now

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Modi's crack down on Corrupt bureaucracy now

Third List of “Dead-wood Babus” readied
Secretaries told to dust up files

Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 22

The Modi government, in its second stint, has sent a clear signal to cleanse ministries, departments and PSUs of corruption and inefficiency at the bureaucratic level.

If the Modi government sacked 27 IRS and customs officers within one month of its second stint, a list of another 50-60 is on the anvil drawn from various departments and PSUs. This include IAS, IPS and other services including those belonging to the PSUs.
Various reports of the Central Vigilance Commission which recommended penal action against these officers are gathering dust for years. Penal action recommended against officers for dereliction of duty had no takers. Now it transpires that Department of Personnel under PM Modi and junior Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and Ministry of Home Affairs under Amit Shah have set up a cell where all such cases are being scrutinised for speedy action.
The government's intention became clear after the DOPT wrote a to all secretaries of ministries and departments asking them to submit reports of officers who they think should be prematurely retired under Fundamental Rule 56(j) (1) and Rule 48 of CCS (Pension) Rules, 1972. Fundamental Rule 56(j) of Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, provides for compulsory retirement of government staff in public interest. No appeal can be filed against this order who are above the age of 50 years as these officers are not denied pensionery benefits. Interestingly, this rule existed for long but rarely used during the past several decades.
A senior minister who is part of this exercise explained on the condition of anonymity that the files of 27 IRS and Customs & excise officers retired prematurely from service was pending for the past several years. The action was delayed due to one reason or the other. However, when the 100-day agenda of the government was being chalked out, it was suggested by ministers that action against the corrupt officers in various wings be expedited. The focus is on those officers who have been found guilty and continue in service without any stay order from courts or otherwise. Obviously, the Modi government is sending a clear signal that it will not tolerate the deadwood and corrupt. The government is also on track to hire talent through the lateral entry route to draw talent.

While in the first term, Modi claimed at public meetings that there were no allegations of corruption against his ministers and there is no “political corruption”, his focus now is to rid of corruption and inefficiency at the officers level.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

BJP jolts TDP, 4 Rajya Sabha MPs desert Naidu, Join BJP

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

BJP jolts TDP, 4 Rajya Sabha MPs desert Naidu, Join BJP
Amit Shah writes split script

Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 20

The BJP got a shot in its arms when four of the six Rajya Sabha MPs of the TDP quit the party and joined the ruling dispensation. The four Rajya Sabha MPs formally handed over the letter to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha quitting the TDP and joining the BJP. They formally joined the BJP in the evening and BJP also wrote the letter to the Chairman RS informing him of its decision to admit them in the party. 

The group of four led by the leader of the TDP Parliamentary Party in the Rajya Sabha Y S Chowdary told Lokmat earlier in the day that green signal to join the BJP had been given by none other than the Union Home Minister Amit Shah whom he had met. The disgruntled group of MPs blamed TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu and his son Lokesh for their painful decision.

Y S Chowdry is a former Minister of State for Science & Technology in the first Modi government and C M Ramesh, another RS MP reported to have told Amit Shah that they are willing to join the BJP and three other Rajya Sabha MPs are also willing. When Amit Shah gave a go ahead after discussing the issue with the leadership, the split was formalised. However, only four formed the group.
Sources say that the TDP legislative party in Andhra Pradesh will also split vertically and as many as 12 MLAs will desert the former Chief Minister who fell out with Modi and joined hands with the Congress before the Lok Sabha polls. The party was routed in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls shattering the dreams of Naidu to install an Opposition government at the Centre.
The split signalled that the BJP is in a hurry to muster majority in the Rajya Sabha where it has 71 MPs in the House of 244. There are nine vacancies as of today. The NDA's strength in RS is 88 and the BJP is in a hurry to touch the majority mark by 2020 when biennial polls for 72 Rajya Sabha seats will take place.

Apart from Chowdary and Ramesh TG Benkatesh and Garikapati mohan rao also joined the BJP.  Sources say that Y S Chowdary and C M Ramesh faced a slew of cases and feeling the heat for sometime.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Om Birla is New Speaker Lok Sabha

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Om Birla is New Speaker Lok Sabha

Modi surprises parties by his choice

2 term MP may be elected unanimously

Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 18:

In a surprise development, the BJP leadership named two-time Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan Om Birla as the Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha. The 57 year old former Rajasthan Minister will succeed 76-year-old Sumitra Mahajan.
As many as ten political parties belonging to the NDA and non-NDA decided to support his candidature. The Congress decided not to put up a candidate for the post of the Speaker signalling that Om Birla may be declared unanimously elected tomorrow.

Apart from the Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, LJP, Janata Dal (U), MNF, NPP, AIADMK and Apna Dal, the YSR Congress, BJD and others have lent their support to Om Birla.

After the decision was taken this morning by the core committee of the ruling dispensation, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi contacted leaders of various political seeking their support. “I have spoken to Congress leaders .K Suresh and Gulab Nabi Azad. They have not signed till now but I think they would not oppose,” Joshi said today.

Om Birla's selection surprised many as there are large number of veterans in the BJP in Lok Sabha who have huge parliamentary experience. The names of Maneka Gandhi, Radha Mohan Singh, S S Ahluwalia, Jual Oram, were doing the rounds.
But sources in the BJP say that Om Birla is a senior party functionary and has wide ranging experience in legislation as he was three time MLA and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs in the Vasundhararaje Government in Rajasthan. Later, he fell out with her but got protection from the Party high command in Delhi and brought to Lok Sabha in 2014.
In any case, Maharashtra's Manohar Joshi of the Shiv Sena was appointed Speaker in his first term in the Lok Sabha in the year 2002. Joshi succeeded Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi of the TDP, who was was appointed Speaker in his second term as MP. Balayogi had died in a helicopter crash.
Insiders in the BJP say that Om Birla is close to the BJP chief Amit Shah who is also Union Home Minister.
In fact, the decision to make Om Birla as Speaker was announced not by the party but his wife Dr Amita Birla who had gone with her husband to congratulate J P Nadda for assuming the charge of Working President of the party.
It was she who confirmed his nomination.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A lokmat Exclusive report Ex-Ministers & MPs told to vacate houses

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

A lokmat Exclusive report
Ex-Ministers & MPs told to vacate houses
265 Newly elected MPs waiting for Houses
Shartughan, Kharge, Kalraj, Anant Geete to vacate after decades
Harish Gupta
New Delhi, June 16

More than 265 former parliamentarians including some of the leading lights like Shatrughan Sinha, Kalraj Mishra, Anant Geete, Mallikarjun Kharge, Upendra Kushwaha, Sharad Yadav have to vacate their palatial Lutyen’s Zone Bungalow within the next two weeks. Ex-ministers, former MPs get 2-3 weeks to vacate houses.

The Directorate of Estate and House Committee of the Lok Sabha have already notified former MPs to vacate these houses without delay. At least four dozen of these were occupying bungalows in Lutyen's Delhi for decades as they have been winning elections term after term. But the 17th Lok Sabha brought 265 new Lok Sabha MPs and a large number of veterans had to eat the humble pie. For example, BJP veteran Shatrughan Sinha had been an occupant of 10 Talkatora Road for almost three decades. After his humiliating defeat, he is left with no option but to look for alternative private house. Similarly, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia is vacating the Safdarjung Road bungalow after almost four decades within the next 15 days. It’s the same story with former JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav  who has been occupant of 7 Tughlaq Road. Though the case is still in courts, now that he contested on the RJD symbol, his disqualification as Rajya Sabha MP has become certainty. Same goes for Mallikarjun Kharge who lost his Lok Sabha polls. Almost all members of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s shouting brigade in Lok Sabha have lost LS polls and have to vacate houses. Bhupinder Singh Hooda has been staying at Pandit Pant Marg for several decades. Butnow his son has also lost the LS polls and they will have to bid adieu to the bungalow.
Some of the leading BJP lights like Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti and Kalraj Mishra didn’t contest polls. They were not given any government post so far. Now they are also looking for alternative accommodation unless given gubernatorial assignment.
According to the information available from official sources, there are 133 new Lok Sabha MPs elected on the BJP ticket out of 303 while Congress has a batch of 30 newly elected MPs out of 52. This is followed by YSR Congress which has 18 new MPs while DMK has 17. Incidentally, Shiv Sena has 4 new MPs. In all 265 are elected first time. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

BJP adds feather in its Cap with Dynasty Politics

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

BJP adds feather in its Cap with Dynasty Politics

Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 14

When BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah listed reasons for BJP's historic win during the May 2019 Lok Sabha polls, one of them was its aversion to political dynasties.
But many in the party's top leaders were seen smiling as BJP is perhaps the only national political party which has earned a unique feather in its cap in this regard.

There are two leading political families in the BJP from UP and Haryana which have three members each active in politics and holding government and legislative positions. Its a rare feat in a party which hates “dynasty”. Haven't heard ? Here we go !

Take the example of Chaudhary Birender Singh who was Steel Minister in the Modi government before it was reconstituted after the Lok Sabha polls. Since he himself had tendered the resignation. He is a senior BJP leader and a member of the Rajya Sabha. His son, Birjender Singh who quit the IAS to join the BJP on the eve of the polls, was rewarded with the Lok Sabha ticket. He contested and won with a big margin from Hisar in Haryana. Birender Singh comes from the family of Sir Chhotu Ram and his grand son. The BJP wanted to encash the Chhotu Ram dynasty to influence the Jats to trounce the Hoodas and Birender Singh came handy and the BJP leapt him up. The BJP wanted to encash the Chhotu Ram dynasty to such an extent that it fielded Birender Singh's wife Prem Lal as an MLA from Jind Assembly seat and she won. Now all in the family are holding legislative positions. Good luck to Chaudhary Birender Singh and the BJP.

This is not the only family whose three members are so active. The Kalyan Singh family of UP is reaping a bigger pie in the BJP's anti-dynasty stance and all three members are going great guns. The former Chief Minister of UP, Kalyana Singh, is Governor of Rajasthan and a great Modi Bhakt. So much so that he even advocated for another term for Modi as Governor. His son, Rajveer Singh, has been rewarded with a Lok Sabha seat from Etah and he won with a huge margin. As if this was not enough, Kalyan Singh's grandson, Sandeep Singh was given Assembly seat from Atauli in 2017 and he won. Later, he was inducted as Minister in the Yogi Adityanath Government.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Special report Amit Shah keen to demit party post early

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Special report

Amit Shah keen to demit party post early
J P Nadda hot favourite as BJP Chief

Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 11

Union Home Ministry and BJP president Amit Shah is understood to have firmly conveyed to demit the office of party chief at the earliest.

Highly placed sources in the BJP say that Amit Shah has expressed the desire to “hang his boots as party chief” and focus on the task assigned to him by “Modiji” in the government.

Contrary to reports appearing in a section of the media that Amit Shah may continue to hold the twin posts until the Assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand, a senior party functionary said, Adhyakshji wants the new regime to take charge and in place well before the states' polls.

"The uncertainty cannot be allowed to continue and it will not help anyone”, Amit Shah is reported to have told his close confidants who played a key role in party's big win in UP, West Bengal, Maharashtra and other states.

These sources also indicated that former Union Health Minister J P Nadda was in the reckoning for the post of the party president way back in 2017 when the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was sent to Goa as Chief Minister. There was a move then to induct Amit Shah into the government then. But somehow the plan could not take shape. After the big win, J P Nadda is the natural successor to Amit Shah. Secondly, Nadda's record as a minister has been unblemished and he established his credentials by winning as many as 62 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP in such adverse circumstances. Thirdly, Nadda is a die-hard RSS swayamsewak and came through the ABVP route.
In fact, there are no contenders for the post and even BJP general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Bhupendra Yadav is not in the reckoning except in a section of the media. ion. Though he has shown tremendous prowess and impressed the leadership, it is early days for such a coveted post.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Modi Govt first Coup against corrupt Top Tax officers

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Modi Govt first Coup against corrupt Top Tax officers

11 Commissioners sacked in One Day
Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 10
In perhaps first ever clamp down on corruption since Independence, the Modi government decided to sack officers of the rank of Chief Commissioners of Income Tax Department.

In a coup of a sort, these government showed the door to these officers who had virtually run out of all relief from every judicial scrutiny for their grave misconduct and yet continuing in service.
Today, the government used its emergency powers and sacked them by compulsorily retiring them under  Rule 56 J.
These include Ashok Agrawak, (IRS 1985 batch) the famous IRS officer who was posted in ED and allegedlycaught in a web of cases. S K Srivastava  ( IRS 1989) – Commissioner( Appeal), NOIDA, was an accused of sexual harassment to two lady IRS officers of Commissioner rank. Managed to get tax evasions petition filed  through a Member of Parliament ( Jai Narayan Nishad). Homi Rajvansh (IRS 1985) had acquired movable and immovable assets worth Rs.3.17 crores  in the name of self and his family members. B.B. Rajendra Prasad was arrested by the CBI and the bribe consideration was recovered. He was also placed under suspension on 02.05.2017 following his arrest by CBI.CVC also directed vigilance inspection of the orders for acquiring Rs 2.73 crores.
Ajoy Kumar Singh CIT, Mumbai faced CBI probe in 2007 and arrested by the CBI and suspended in 2009. But nothing happened and he continued for ten long years.
B. ARULAPPA, CIT  proved to be ineffective as a Supervisory officer as he failed to ensure assignment of important cases having large tax implication to senior and experienced officers and caused a huge loss of Rs 16.69 crores.
Alok Kumar Mitra was involved in  many  cases of corruptions and extortion and passed many wrong and  malafide assessment orders which were later on reversed by the appellate authorities.
Chander Sain Bharti was apprehended by CBI in connection with a trap case and the bribe money of Rs. 30 lakh was recovered from angadiya (courier and hawala channels) used by him. acquired assets worth Rs 1,63,12,939 (in his and his wife’s name).
Andasu Ravindar  was apprehended by CBI with an amount of Rs. 50,00,000/- with him and  could not explain the source of that amount. He received loans for himself and or his family members from various persons which were not intimated to the department. Andasu Ravindar accepted bribe M/s Aban Offshore Ltd., Chennai with whom he had official dealings.
Vivek Batra has been accused  by CBI  in 2005 of abuse of his official position to accumulate assets disproportionate to his known sources of income amounting Rs 1.27 Crore.  Swetabh Suman was arrested by CBI in New Delhi on April 13, 2018 for allegedly demanding Rs 50 lakh for giving relief in a shell company matter to a businessman

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Thaawar Chand, Piyush Goyal, Javadekar in Race for Leader Rajya Sabha,

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Thaawar Chand, Piyush Goyal, Javadekar in Race for Leader Rajya Sabha,
YSR Congress may be dark horse for Deputy Speaker, LS
Modi Nod awaited for two crucial posts  

Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 10

Prime Minister Modi has to take a couple of crucial political decisions very soon including the choice of the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Leader of the BJP Parliamentary group in Rajya Sabha. 

While the Shiv Sena has already expressed its desire to be the rightful claimant for the post of the Deputy Speaker which usually goes to the Opposition party, not to an ally. But these conventions have not been followed in the past and the Sena is not insisting for it. The second best choice doing the rounds is that of Brahtohari Mehtab of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). It is argued that Modi may like to bring Naveen Patnaik of Odisha closer to the BJP. Patnaik is scheduled to meet Modi today and this issue may crop up. But there are many in the BJP high command who say that Modi may like to rope in YSR Congress of Andhra Pradesh instead as Jaganmohan Reddy has slapped a humiliating defeat to Congress and Chandrababu Naidu in the state. Modi may also like to oblige YSR Congress rather than the BJD.
Another important political decision that PM Modi has to take as Leader of the BJP in Rajya Sabha after his most trusted and highly qualified person Arun Jaitley opted out due to ill health.
Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Social Justice Minister, is the senior most BJP leader in Rajya Sabha and a Dalit from Madhya Pradesh. Modi has also kept him in a couple of crucial parliamentary committees too and he is a member of the BJP's Parliamentary Board. But then there is a rising star Piyush Goyal in Railway & Commerce Minister whom the party is grooming. Another Minister in the reckoning is Prakash Javadekar who has been hand-picked for the coveted ministries of Environment & Forest and I&B. He has been brought back in I&B after several failed experiments in the first term. But by virtue of her position as Finance Minister and being a woman too, Nirmala Sitharaman is also a front runner for the top post. The way she defended the government and blasted Rahul Gandhi on Rafale in the Lok Sabha in Winter session stole the thunder.

Monday, June 10, 2019

10 Governors' posts up for grab Mega race in BJP begins

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

Exclusive story

10 Governors' posts up for grab
Mega race in BJP begins
All retiring Between July-December

Harish Gupta

New Delhi, June 7

A mega race for Governors has begun in the BJP as ten of them are due to retire in ten states between July to December this year.

There is a long queue of party veterans who are aspiring to be governors as many of them could not make the cut to contest Lok Sabha polls and others opting out due to health & other reasons. The huge vacancies of governors in 2019 itself has given a ray of hope to many of these veterans to continue to be in the political arena.
As many as four of the governors are due to retire in July itself beginning with Gujrat Governor Om Prakash Kohli whose term is ending on July 15 this year. The Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya who has always been in the news for wrong reasons, will also complete his tenure on July 19. He will be followed by UP Governor Ram Naik who is to retire on July 21 and West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi completes his five year term on July 23.

Come August and September, four more NDA appointed governors. These are C Vidya Sagar Rao of Maharashtra on August 30, Mridula Sinha of Goa on August 31, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on September 1 and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh on September 4.
Then comes the ending of five year tenure of Justice P Sathasivam, a former CJI of Supreme Court who was rewarded with the post of Kerala Governor on September 5.
The issue of longest serving governor of India ESL Narasimhan who was appointed by the UPA government in December 2009 will also be settled this year. He came largely due to his proximity with Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. PM Modi obliged Naidu as he insisted on Narasimhan's continuation. Now that his ten year tenure will end, he is likely to go.
Sources close to the Prime Minister's Office say that the PM is not inclined to appoint bureaucrats or retired officers as Governors except in Union Territories where administrators are needed. He appoints political persons as governors and it is largely because of this very reason that there is ray of hope of BJP veterans to occupy governor houses.
Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalraj Mishra, Bijoya Chakravarty (Assam), Kariya Munda (Jharkhand), Bhagat Singh Koshiyari (Uttrakhand), Sumitra Mahajan (Madhya Pradesh), Bandaru Dattatreya Andhra Pradesh), are some of the senior BJP leaders who did not contest the Lok Sabha polls and hoping to be governors. Former External Affairs Sushma Swaraj is expected to play a political role though she didn't contest. But there is no Rajya Sabha seat available for her at least during 2019 and will have to wait for 2020.


After UPSC, NITI Aayog to hire 55 Directly in Top positions

by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group

special report

After UPSC, NITI Aayog to hire 55 Directly in Top positions
First Time Large scale Lateral entrant as Joint Secretary & Above in Govt.

Harish Gupta
New Delhi, June 6

after the first batch of 10 highly qualified persons cleared for induction into the IAS directly through the UPSC, the Modi government is now getting ready to induct another 55 for lateral entry of experts into the civil service.
But this task has now been taken away from the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and will be processed through the NITI Aayog, Modi's new Think Tank.
The 10 persons selected by the UPSC and interviewed and gone through the drill, will be shortly given the appointment letters which will be the first batch of lateral entry officers. The UPSC has sent the file to the DoPT. These have been selected in the rank of the joint secretaries.

According to highly-placed officials, the government plans to soon advertise for direct recruitment of more than four dozen positions in NITI Aayog at different levels, including directors, joint secretaries and even at the level of the additional secretaries, etc.
They will have a fixed salary of over Rs 3 lakhs and a minimum of five year tenure, say these sources. NITI Aayog and other bodies have been hiring consultants on contracts at whims and fancies until now. Now these new posts would be at par with regular government servants.
The NITI Aayog has already identified the areas in which talent is required. Initially, there will be 55 positions. But these can go upto 500 plus top ranking vacancies.

The proposed advertisement for these posts is engaging the attention of the Department of Personnel under the PMO as it is being done at the large scale and talent is being drawn from the private sector on the basis of performance and other qualifications.
The PM has been inducting highly qualified professionals even in the rank of the secretaries in Aayush, Sanitation and other key departments.
These secretaries have a fixed tenure and outside the seniority level of the regular bureaucracy. But the advertisements for the 55 posts would be out either this month end of July.
These posts are recognised as ‘flexi-pool posts’, for which the NITI Aayog usually hires consultants as needed.
After the initial period of five years, their work will be revalued and given further appointment for three years.